Can You Receive Workers' Compensation Benefits Even Though They Could Be Offset by Your Pension Benefits ?
In Palmer v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (City of Philadelphia), 850 A.2d 72 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2004), the court affirmed the award of penalties under identical circumstances involving the City's unilateral cessation of workers' compensation benefits after a retired police officer began receipt of a service-connected disability pension.
The Palmer court concluded that, "the Workers' Compensation Act does not require that a claimant suffer economic harm before penalties are imposed; instead, the Act permits the imposition of penalties to give the Board the power to assure compliance with the Act." Id. at 78.
The court noted that, "the imposition of penalties under the Act is an issue independent from the merits of the claim." Id.
In Palmer, the claimant signed an "Agreement Re: Workmen's Compensation".
The court stated:
The Agreement that Claimant entered into with the Pension Board states that any pension benefits paid to an individual will be offset by the amount of workers' compensation received by that individual, not that workers' compensation benefits will be terminated.
In effect, what the WCJ's order did was restore workers' compensation benefits, even though they could be offset by Claimant's pension benefits. d. at 78.